Number of people unable to properly heat homes has more than doubled, CSO finds

43 per cent of renters would consider emigrating to cope, rising to 57 per cent in the 18-29 age group

The number of people who could not afford to properly heat their homes more than doubled last year, according to a Central Statistics Office review of 2022.

A data snapshot of how Ireland fared during the year sheds light on the cost of living pressures people were under, including to meet basic needs.

A survey of income and living conditions in November showed the number of those who could not afford to keep their home “adequately warm” increased from 3.2 per cent in 2021 to 7.4 per cent in 2022. Households with difficulty making ends meet generally increased from 42 per cent to 49.3 per cent.

The first instalment of the CSO’s Ireland 2022: The Year in Numbers, published on Tuesday, focused on society and environment, with most data taken from surveys involving thousands of households and businesses throughout the year.


It showed the rising cost of living had severe ramifications, with 43 per cent of renters telling the CSO they would consider emigrating to cope, rising to 57 per cent in the 18-29 age group.

A survey from November found 62 per cent of people cutting back on utilities, 51 per cent on fuel and 49 per cent on food.

Less than half (41 per cent) of lone parents felt lonely all or most of the time. October data showed they were more likely to be unable to afford two pairs of properly fitting shoes for their children.

The CSO figures on the Irish population ― now at 5.1 million, the largest since 1841 – show by early November, an estimated 62,425 people from Ukraine had arrived in Ireland under the Temporary Protection Directive.

“Using Census 2016 figures we can see the impact of the war, as at that time there were 4,624 people who were born in Ukraine but were usually resident in Ireland,” the CSO noted.

The median net wealth value of Irish households was €193,100 in May, and later in the year households were shown to be saving 19 per cent of their income, significantly more than pre-pandemic savings levels of about 10 per cent.

But in a challenging economic time, other data was less positive. The proportion of people living in enforced deprivation increased from 13.8 per cent in 2021 to 17.1 per cent in 2022.

Fraud was the fastest growing category of crime, rising 43 per cent, or by 4,877 to 16,202 incidents in the year to June.

Some data in the report relates to 2021. That year more than half (56 per cent) of recorded victims of sexual offences were younger than 18 when the offence occurred. Among suspected offenders of sexual violence, 98 per cent were male and 18 per cent were under 18.

More than half (53 per cent) of 25-64-year-olds in 2022 had a third-level education, the highest rate among the 27 EU member states.

Employment reached a record 73.5 per cent in the first half of the year, with the estimated total number of hours worked per week in the third quarter recorded at 80.3 million hours.

Men were more likely than women to ask for a pay rise to counteract cost of living increases.

Almost four-in-ten employees were working remotely at some point during 2021, with almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of them saying they had more time on their hands as a result.

Although society was slowly pulling away from the more extreme conditions brought about by Covid-19, data for the year showed the number of deaths where it was identified as the underlying cause in 2021 was 3,011, or 9.1 per cent of the total.

Data from last October revealed 14 per cent of employees across all sectors were not fully vaccinated. The accommodation and food services sector had the highest percentage at 23 per cent.

Cancer and circulatory disease were the largest causes of death in Ireland. People told the CSO that one of the main reasons they spent time outdoors was to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Data released in November showed Ireland had the second-highest emissions of greenhouse gases per capita in the EU 27 during 2020, at 11.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Environmental Indicators 2022 noted the proportion of rivers and streams in Ireland with high water quality declined sharply – from 27 per cent in 1987-1990 to 17 per cent in 2017-2020.

More promising data showed the number of new electric cars increased by 82 per cent from 8,414 in 2021 to 15,291 in the same period in 2022. At the same time, the number of new diesel cars fell.

The level of electricity consumption by data centres increased by 32 per cent between 2020 and 2021, while the increase between early 2015 and late 2021 was 265 per cent.

Grasslands accounted for almost 56 per cent of land cover in Ireland, far higher than the EU average of 10 per cent.

Of goods and services produced in the economy, 41 per cent were ordered or delivered online to the value of €154 billion.

There were 58,443 babies born in 2021, up 2,484 on 2020. The most common surname for babies born in 2021 was Murphy.

There were more girls’ names that year (4,741) than boys (3,863). Fiadh became the most popular for girls while Jack remained the most popular for boys.

The average age for brides in 2021 was 35.4 years and 37.4 for grooms in opposite-sex marriages. At 34 per cent, civil ceremonies were catching up on Catholic services, still the most popular at 40 per cent.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times